EP REVIEW: MANDY, INDIANA – ‘…’ EP

Mandy, Indiana’s new EP release ‘…’ is the kind of thing I live for as a lover of, and writer about, music. From the opening bars of ‘Bottle Episode’ I was stopped in my tracks, totally captivated by what I was hearing. The Manchester band describe themselves as post-punk electronic noise and feature Scott Fair on guitar and Valentine Caulfield as lyric writer and vocalist, singing in French. They have also enlisted percussionist Liam Stewart to bring a breath taking tectonic battering to their tracks.

This EP may only feature three tracks and two remixes, but it packs an enormous punch. ‘Bottle Episode’ starts with the kind of drum batería that could kick off any Brazilian Carnival, and Caulfield utilises the French language like a blade to scythe through the beats. It dies back to a throbbing beat accompanied by the Devil’s alarm clock and then dives right back into beats and syncopated vocals. ‘Nike of Samothrace’ is more likely named for the Greek Goddess of Victory rather than footwear (Samothrace is an island in the Aegean Sea and the Winged Victory of Samothrace is a statue from 2nd century BC, currently in the Louvre) and the track bristles with the added noise of howling steel-winds that Scott Fair summons, Prospero-like, to batter everything and form part of its personality. Valentine Caulfield counters the searing electronics with a casual delivery and Liam Stewart holds everything together with a granite-beat. ‘Alien 3’ is built on futuristic engine-judder and an industrial disco beat alongside what I imagine the siren from a flying saucer ambulance sounds like and the overall effect reminded me of the soundtrack to the 1956 sci-fi film ‘Forbidden Planet’ by electronic music pioneers Bebe and Louis Barron.  

The remixes are expertly done and bring fresh angles to two of the three tracks. Daniel Avery tackles ‘Alien 3’, adding a thudding backbeat that would get the undead up on the dancefloor of a Vampire nightclub (grab that sync deal while you can) and there’s also a monstruous train effect that thunders through the track. The Club Eat remix of ‘Nike of Samothrace’ strips everything back to 1.5x vocals which bounce alongside 8-bit drums like two typewriters dancing a tango together and the whole thing has an Acid House vibe.

This is cavernous post-punk, and the sense of space is literally down to a sense of space as the EP was recorded in a number of locations including a vast industrial mill and there is also the inclusion of environmental sounds. Those three enigmatic dots, an ellipsis (Greek for ‘omission’), can also signify a pause in speech or a sentence that is never concluded and I’m taking this as an indication that there’s more to come. Everything about ‘…’ resonated with me and the whirlwind of electronic/organic sounds along with those exhilarating beats make this a contender for one of favourite releases of the year.

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Review by Paul F Cook

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